The Trump administration is working on plans to delay the April 15 federal tax deadline for some taxpayers in a bid to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress on Wednesday that the administration is looking to provide relief for most individual taxpayers as well as small businesses.
Mnuchin said the administration believes a payment delay would have the effect of putting more than $200 billion back into the economy that would otherwise go to paying taxes next month. He did not indicate what the new deadline would be.
Mnuchin later told reporters that the delay would cover “virtually all Americans other than the super rich.”
He said that the delay would not apply to large corporation or very wealthy taxpayers but he did not offer any specific income or asset threshholds that would be needed to qualify for the delay.
Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the administration could grant the tax delay without having to go to Congress for approval.
He said Treasury will recommend to President Donald Trump that he approve the delay and that a formal announcement should come soon.
Mnuchin said the delay would allow individuals to not pay their taxes by the April 15 deadline. The IRS would also waive interest payments or other penalties for missing the deadline.
Under current IRS rules, taxpayers can get an automatic extension on filing their tax return but they are required to pay tax on the estimated amount they will owe when they do file.
Members of Congress have urged the administration to take this step amid the coronavirus crisis.
Mnuchin also told the panel that the administration is considering aiding hard hit industries by providing loan guarantees.
"I would assume the airlines would be on the top of the list, but it would be, again, it may include other areas such as hotels, cruise lines and others."
And he said the administration is working with Congress to reimburse workers who find themselves at home due to sick leave or self-quarantine.
"This would be the federal government reimbursing companies so that they could pay the workers," Mnuchin said.
"And whether the money goes direct to the workers or the money goes to this companies to the workers, we're figuring out the most efficient way."